JUBA, Oct. 13 — At least 16 people have been killed and scores injured during days of inter-communal clashes between rival pastoralist groups in a central South Sudanese town, a local government official said Friday.
“Sixteen people have been confirmed killed and 15 others injured since Monday when violence flared between two communities in various parts of Terekeka, a town 53 miles (85 kilometers) north of the South Sudan capital, Juba,” Terekeka state information minister Dominic Lado told Xinhua by phone.
Ladu said cattle theft is believed to be the main cause of the fighting, adding that the death toll could rise anytime because the warring communities are still engaged in retaliatory attacks.
“The two sections of Mundari Kobura and Mundari Nyangwara are having misunderstanding and it has resulted in clashes. From the side of Mundari Kobura, eight people have been killed and again from Mundari Nyangwara, eight have also been killed,” Ladu said.
“But up to now, we don’t know if that is the only number killed because the ambushes are still happening in many locations,” he added.
Ladu appealed to the national government in Juba to intervene because the warring factions are heavily armed and have outnumbered the police force in the area.
“We appeal to the national government to respond quickly and send us reinforcement so that we can go to different locations where they (armed men) are assembled,” Ladu added.
Police spokesman Daniel Justine confirmed the fighting, but said officials are still gathering more information before giving further details.
Communal conflicts over land, livestock and water are common in South Sudan, mainly caused by presence of illegal arms in the hands of civilians.